Part of a family business which has been established for nearly forty years, Allanwater Homes currently has three private housing developments across the Central Belt of Scotland.
Named after the local waterway in the small village of Bridge of Allan in Stirlingshire, the company was founded in 1980 by Ian Stirling. Ian’s son David joined the company in 1994, and is now the current Managing Director. In the early days, Allan Water Developments was predominantly involved with refurbishing old buildings into apartments, before moving into developing care homes.
Such was the success of the care home division, a specialist firm was formed to concentrate on this, eventually being sold on in 2006. A year later, Allanwater Homes was set up, as the firm endeavoured to become more development focused, and make a move into private housebuilding. Parent company Allan Water Developments continued to carry out commercial contracting and development work, as it still does in 2018.
Said David Stirling: “I joined the firm fresh from University with an engineering degree, but always saw our future in private housebuilding and developing. It was a good move to focus on residential homes, and despite ever present recessionary times, we initially established developments in strong locations like Dunblane, securing a prestigious Premier Guarantee Top Developer Excellence Award for this development, Kingfisher Gardens.”
The company now has developments in Alloa, Fife and West Lothian, with more coming soon. David continued: “It’s been exciting to establish in new locations such as West Lothian, where we have been a completely new name, but we’re more than up to the challenge. We continue to do commercial, retail and leisure projects too and have just completed Scotland’s newest Travelodge.”
The company is looking to expand the housebuilding side of the business and is purchasing more sites across Scotland. David noted: “Our aim is for steady growth. My plan is for one or two extra sites each year for the next five years, while still doing our commercial developments at the same time.”
The past year has seen Allanwater Homes really set out its stall through its showhomes too, partnering up with Steven Burgess Fine Furniture & Interiors, an upmarket interior design firm based locally near the Allan Water Head Office.
Sales and Marketing Manager for Allanwater Homes, Sharron McCarthy, takes up the story: “We were struggling to establish just what our house style was,” she said. “Showhomes are very important nowadays in attracting buyers and we wanted ours to be the very best they could be, but not overdone or representing an impossible ideal. They had to reflect their location, and their target market. We tried a few ad hoc designers, and even an in house approach, but it just wasn’t coming together in the way that we hoped.”
Through David sourcing some interior design and furniture for his own home, the housebuilder discovered Steven Burgess Fine Furniture & Interiors, quickly realising it was a firm with whom Allanwater Homes could work. Sharron continued: “It has made a huge difference, as they seemed to instantly ‘get’ what we were trying to achieve in creating a relaxed country feel which is at the same time, contemporary and achievable. They have now delivered three showhomes for us which are absolutely perfect for our developments and enhance the particular house types. We are getting positive feedback from visitors and buyers across the board.”
Sharron explained that such has been the success of working with Steven Burgess, that the very first showhome they completed is now a potential award winner, having been nominated for a prestigious property award.
“We are thrilled that our Grampian showhome at The Views in Saline, a small village in Fife, with a lovely semi-rural setting, has been nominated in the Herald Property Awards Best Showhome category – an extremely competitive category which regularly attracts the very best names in the industry. For us to be nominated here is amazing,” said Sharron. “The showhome in question, the five bedroom Grampian, a split level design, was also a debut house type. They have really put it on the map, referencing the countryside setting in the design, from different styles of quirky wallpaper from Scottish designers, to showcasing textiles from small independent Scottish mills.”
Steven Burgess have since completed two more showhomes, in Alloa and West Lothian, one on a modern retro theme, and the other again referencing the countryside and immediate surroundings.
“They have given us a firm identity now which adds to our overall marketing profile, and certainly boosts sales,” said Sharron.
David Stirling has the final word: “To any developer struggling to find its niche in showhome design, we would say always to invest in good showhome design nowadays – it’s still massively important as many buyers will not commit entirely from plan. You are still selling a lifestyle, and creating aspirations. We hope to enjoy a strong working long relationship with Steven Burgess, with our new locations bringing fresh challenges for us all.”